Before Burnaboy climbed the big stage to accept the coveted Best International act honour which was duly received by his mother at the 2019 BET Awards held at Microsoft Theater on June 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California, Wizkid and Davido have earlier made that mark in the 2017 and 2018 editions of the award respectively.
— MTV Base West (@MTVBaseWest) June 24, 2019
Prior to Wizkid winning the award in 2017, Starboy has earlier grabbed the award for the first time in 2012 alongside Ghana rap heavyweight, Sarkodie at the time when it was a joint award given to two African acts.
BET Best international act over the years: #BETAwards
2019: Burna Boy
Nigeria to the world!🌎🌍 pic.twitter.com/Eh9lqdfbKG
— Omoniyi Israel (@omoissyy) June 24, 2019
A year earlier, 2011 precisely, when the BET Awards first created the Best International Act – Africa category, it was formatted for double artistes to jointly be celebrated. The first African acts to grab the award were the legendary 2baba Idibia and D’Banj.
2face Idibia was at the prime of his powers, with the ‘Unstoppable International Edition’ album, already expanding his brand via amazing singles including ‘Enter the place’ and ‘Fly’.
D’banj too was ruling the African continent by his alliance with Don Jazzy still up and kicking, and Mo’hits churning out hits after hits. Both Artistes picked up the award at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on June 26, 2011.
While these two deserves some accolades for being the first Africans to grab the award which put Nigeria on the global scale, Wizkid’s great influence cannot be overemphasized. Starboy introduced afrobeat to the global market and made it a sort after genre internationally.
Before this period, Nigerian acts like Davido who won the award in 2014, dropped songs that only appealed to the African market with no view of aiming the international space.
Davido began 2014 in great style; he released the conceptual love song ‘Aye’. That set the tone for a successful year which also included a BET. The singer received his gong at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California on June 29, 2014. And later went on to receive more accolades for his great pop contribution to music.
Wizkid’s hit single, Ojuelegba which got international acceptance by music big heads served as a wake up call for other Nigerian artistes who doubled their game in the making of good music. Wizkid’s career took a giant leap in 2017 with his collaborations with American super stars, Drake and Chris Brown, beating beat home boys Davido, Tekno and Mr. Eazi to clinch the BET prize that year.
The Ojuelegba sound and message triggered Drake to jump on it which later led to a whole new collaboration between one of America’s biggest rapper and Nigeria’s finest popstar, Wizkid and the record-breaking hit, Once Dance was delivered. Wizkid at this point opened the doors for Davido and Burnaboy who came through with great sounds that once again penetrated the American market, while I can’t strongly say that for Ye, Davido’s Fall has all the records which speaks volume.
From being recognized as the most Shamazed Non-American song in the US to being longest charting Nigerian song on the Billboard and the most viewed music video by any Nigerian artist on streaming channel, YouTube among others, Davido’s Fall has the numbers that stands it out.
Burnaboy’s ‘Ye’ is another song that is being projected to make it to the Billboard in the coming months like ‘Fall,’ as it is currently enjoying organic traction in non-Nigerian territories. YouTube Music took ‘Ye’ to Times Square, New York and in the coming days we have witnessed Jamaican teenage music star Koffee done a perfect cover of Burna Boy’s hit.
Without Wizkid dropping the iconic Ojuelegba tune that got the attention of the music world, songs like ‘Fall’ and ‘Ye’ would have reigned only in Africa and afterwards die a natural death.
Forget Burna boy
Proof that wizkid is the biggest Artist in Africa!😱pic.twitter.com/x009WBtGjN
— Lamarr ❁ (@lamarr______) June 24, 2019
Because of Wizkid, Afrobeat has been massively accepted in America, London and some parts of Europe which hands a big opportunity to African singers who know their onions and would want to make a mark in the world stage.